Animal Shelter Director

Fairfax, Virginia
$87,662.64 - $146,105.44 Annually
Oct 09, 2021
Oct 30, 2021
Full Time
Job Announcement

The Fairfax County Animal Shelter is an open-access, municipal shelter that provides a safe-haven for dogs, cats, and small animals, such as, guinea pigs, rabbits and pet birds. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the shelter was open Tuesday-Friday from 12 Noon to 7 pm and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. During open hours, visitors could tour the adoption center and choose from dozens of cats, kittens, dogs, puppies, and small animals available for adoption. The shelter is currently open under a COVID-19 modified plan with all services, including "browse" visits, by appointment. Intake and adoption services are Tuesday and Wednesday, 12 noon - 5 pm, Thursday and Friday, 12 noon to 7 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. Return to owner of stray pets is available 7 days a week.

The Animal Shelter has been in operation at the West Ox facility since 1975. The facility underwent a major renovation and expansion between 2009 and 2013 increasing its footprint to over 27,000 square feet. Construction of a second facility is currently in progress in the Lorton area of south Fairfax County with an expected completion of Spring 2023. The second facility is co-located with the new South County Police Station and will have many state-of-the-art features, including a full-service veterinary suite, outdoor “catios”, separate lobbies for adoption and intake services, a community/training room, and a large outdoor play yard for dogs. For the past 7 years, the Fairfax County Animal Shelter achieved a positive release rate of over 90%.

Prior to 1999, Animal Control and the Animal Shelter operated as the Animal Care and Control Agency under the Deputy County Executive for Public Safety and Transportation. In 1999, Animal Control was moved under the Police Department (FCPD), followed shortly after by the animal shelter. The two groups together became the Animal Services Division of FCPD and remained as such until February 4, 2017.

In July 2015, the County contracted with Public Financial Management, Inc. to conduct an organizational review of its public safety agencies including the animal services division of FCPD. With the evolution of the animal shelter from a "pound" to an animal resource center for the community, and for it to best perform its mission, it was recommended that the animal shelter become a standalone department reporting directly to the Deputy County Executive for Public Safety. This recommendation was subsequently approved by the Board of Supervisors. In February of 2017, the Animal Shelter became an independent County Department and was renamed the “Department of Animal Sheltering” (DAS).

Almost immediately thereafter, construction plans began for the South County Police Station and Animal Shelter to better serve that area of the community. The Director of the Department of Animal Sheltering will have oversight for both facilities and all shelter operations. The individual hired for this position will play a key role the completion, staffing and opening of the new facility. To view the Animal Sheltering site click here .

The Director is responsible for providing strategic direction and leadership to include business operations, shelter management, animal care, customer service, and community outreach, working collaboratively with Animal Protection Police, veterinary care, and administration, and managing a diverse staff of 30+ supplemented by more than 300 active volunteers. With the opening of the South County facility, it is anticipated that staffing will increase by around 70% to cover all services in both facilities. The Director creates a work environment in which staff is motivated and empowered to perform at peak levels. Other duties include, but are not limited to:
  • Oversees development and implementation of animal welfare programs, and uses appropriate resources to meet the goals and objectives of the Shelter;
  • Evaluates the effectiveness of programs and participates in problem-solving and quality improvement efforts throughout the shelter;
  • Ensures that care and services are provided in accordance with current laws, rules, regulations and standards;
  • Manages the department's budget and resources with an emphasis on responsible stewardship and maximizing benefits to shelter animals and the community;
  • Fosters beneficial relationships with residents and members of community organizations;
  • Builds strong working relationships with local partners including government agencies, rescue groups, veterinarians, Animal Protection Police, and the Animal Services Advisory Commission.,
  • Acts as liaison to the Friends of the Fairfax County Animal Shelter for program planning and financial support;
  • Represents Fairfax County on regional councils and committees as needed;
  • Fosters a culture where no adoptable, treatable or rehabilitatable companion animal is euthanized for lack of space or lack of other resources.
  • Fosters a culture of inclusion, development, creativity and positivity for all staff and volunteers.
  • Ensures that outcome decisions regarding animals consider public safety as well as medical and behavioral needs of the pet.

  • Extensive knowledge and experience with developing and mentoring staff;
  • Knowledge of developing and implementing strategic plans;
  • Possession of critical thinking skills;
  • Knowledge of the principles and practices of managing a large animal facility;
  • Extensive knowledge of sound management and leadership principles and practices;
  • Expertise in developing and managing a budget with multiple line items contingent on unknown factors such as emergency medical care and large scale hoarding seizures.

  • Balancing concern for animal welfare with concerns for public safety.
  • Budget oversight to maintain robust, life-saving programs within a fixed budget. Note: the animal shelter has a supporting dedicated 501C3 organization (Friends of the Fairfax County Animal Shelter ) as an additional funding resource, a gift fund and two state grant programs, however, this funding may be variable. See current budget here .
  • Maintaining the safety, health, and emotional/mental wellbeing of all within the work environment.
  • Maintaining a healthy relationship of trust and collaboration with a large, diverse volunteer population.
  • Maintaining collaborative and cooperative relationships with interdependent County agencies such as Animal Protection Police, and the Health Department, as well as with service and regulatory agencies such as Facilities Management, Department of information Technology, Department of Human Resources and Risk Management.
  • Meeting/managing the expectations of various advocacy groups, volunteers and rescue partners.
  • Communicating in all areas, both internal and external. Management of social media network groups to avoid rumor mill negativity.
  • Managing public expectation with regard to euthanasia decisions.

Fairfax County is one of the premier centers of technology in the United States. Located just west of the nation's capital, Fairfax County is the most populous jurisdiction in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It has a large, diverse and dynamic economy, and while 90% of all businesses are small, it is home for eleven Fortune 500 companies, more than 430+ international owned firms, and the second largest concentration of technology jobs of any major U.S. market. Minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses make significant contributions to the economy and add diversity to the business community. Fairfax County Profile

The County offers residents an excellent environment in which to raise and educate their children. The Fairfax County Public Schools system and area private schools offer parents numerous education options. Fairfax County is also a leader in higher education, where five major colleges and universities, including the main campus of George Mason University, are located. Northern Virginia Community College - the largest community college in the Commonwealth of Virginia - has two campuses in Fairfax County. The community has a wealth of cultural and recreational resources that provide abundant opportunities for children to learn and grow.

Governed by a 10-member Board of Supervisors, and managed by the County Executive, Fairfax County government consistently achieves high praise for fiscal stability, quality service and technological sophistication. With over $4.52 billion in general fund revenues, Fairfax County maintains an exceptional Triple-A bond rating from three leading rating agencies - Moody's Investor Services, Standard and Poor's, and Fitch Investor Service.

Illustrative Duties

(The illustrative duties listed in this specification are representative of the class but are not an all-inclusive list. A complete list of position duties and unique physical requirements can be found in the position job description.)
  • Oversees all animal shelter operations, services, programs and personnel;
  • Assigns, schedules and evaluates the work of subordinate supervisory shelter personnel;
  • Makes routine inspections to review work in progress by subordinates;
  • Ensures that supervisory staff coordinates in-service training of shelter personnel;
  • Meets with members of the public having business with the shelter;
  • Ensures that the shelter's animal population is housed in a humane and sanitary manner;
  • Ensures that the shelter structure and equipment are properly used and maintained;
  • Directs the maintenance of detailed records of animals which are impounded;
  • Supervises a protective health program for injured and sick animals that are impounded;
  • Oversees the shelter's adoption program;
  • Ensures proper supervision of the selection of and euthanasia of animals that must be humanely destroyed;
  • Oversees the quarantine of animals that have bitten humans and are impounded at the shelter;
  • Ensures that drugs and FDA controlled substances are properly used and that inventory control is maintained;
  • Maintains a current strategic plan that is regularly updated and tracks the shelter's progress in attainment of its strategic goals and objectives;
  • Maintains working relationship with the Animal Services Advisory Commission and participates in the Commission's monthly meetings;
  • Acts as liaison and active member of the Friends of the Fairfax County Animal Shelter;
  • Represents Fairfax County on regional councils and committees as needed;
  • Mentors, coaches, and engages in proactive team building for all personnel, volunteers, and partners in the local and national community to keep the shelter progressive in meeting the needs of the animals and citizens served;
  • Reviews, maintains and implements programs and policies for progressive animal care that support a proactive approach to attaining a positive release rate consistent with community expectations and public safety considerations;
  • Fosters a culture where no adoptable, treatable or rehabilitatable companion animal is euthanized for lack of space or lack of other resources.

Required Knowledge Skills and Abilities

(The knowledge, skills and abilities listed in this specification are representative of the class but are not an all-inclusive list.)
  • Extensive knowledge of the principles and practices of managing an animal facility or managing a business in the private sector or governmental agency;
  • Ability to plan, organize, coordinate and direct work of subordinates;
  • Ability to communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing;
  • Ability to provide effective leadership;
  • Ability to develop and maintain effective working relationships with subordinates, coworkers, County officials, public and private sector organizations, community groups and the public.

Employment Standards

Any combination of education, experience, and training equivalent to the following:
(Click on the aforementioned link to learn how Fairfax County interprets equivalencies for “Any combination, experience, and training equivalent to”)
Graduation from an accredited four-year college or university with a degree in animal or behavioral sciences, business administration, public administration, or a related field; plus five years of supervisory experience managing an animal facility or relevant management experience in the private industry or government sector.

  • Five years of experience serving in an executive or director role;
  • Experience managing a large animal shelter;
  • Experience working with elected officials, and committees;
  • Ability to work collaboratively with Friends of the Fairfax County Animal Shelter, Animal Protection Police, and the Animal Services Advisory Commission.
  • Ability to create and maintain working relationships;
  • Experience working with various departments serving in a supportive role.

Euthanasia Certification (Required within 6 months)

All newly hired employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (two weeks after the last required dose) as a condition of employment or obtain approval of a medical or religious exemption prior to their start date. Proof of an exemption or vaccination status will be required during the pre-employment onboarding process. New employees who obtain an exemption from the vaccine mandate for medical or sincerely held religious beliefs will still be subject to the weekly testing requirement. Vaccinated employees and employees with a medical or religious exemption will complete the attestation online on their first day of employment or shortly thereafter.

Must have pre-exposure rabies vaccination and tetanus vaccination within 3 months of appointment. The appointee to this position must submit to a criminal background check and a credit history check as a condition of employment and periodically thereafter. Completion of a "Statement of Economic Interest" form is required at the time of hire and annually thereafter.

  • Must be able to converse with others either in person or on the phone and review paperwork associated with the position.
  • Must be able to operate a vehicle.
  • Must be physically able to move throughout the shelter and its grounds for inspections.
  • Subject to random drug testing.
  • Must have current pre-exposure rabies vaccination and tetanus vaccination.
  • All duties may be performed with or without reasonable accommodations.

Panel interview(s); may include exercise.

Fairfax County Government prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetics, political affiliation, or military status in the recruitment, selection, and hiring of its workforce.

Reasonable accommodations are available to persons with disabilities during application and/or interview processes per the Americans with Disabilities Act. Contact 703-324-4900 for assistance. TTY 703-222-7314. EEO/AA/TTY.

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